Gardener's Corner

Join us for tips, helps, questions and answers about the gardening world. Monitored by a Certified Master Gardener but wisdom is shared by ALL.

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Latest Activity: May 9

Gardener's Corner

Chief Walks In Shadows is a Florida State Master Gardener.
He will post information that he feels will benefit everyone as a whole. But basically this will be a question and answer group.
Chief Walks will answer all questions asked to him directly. He has over 40 years of experience. And a sizable personal research library.

We are here to meet ALL of your gardening questions and/or related subjects.



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The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides North America into 11 separate zones; each zone is 10°F warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent zone. If you see a hardiness zone in a catalog or plant description, chances are it refers to the USDA map. To find your USDA Hardiness Zone or use the map below. 



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Comment Wall


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Comment by Chief Walks on October 27, 2017 at 6:52pm
Comment by Chief Walks on October 27, 2017 at 6:50pm
Comment by Chief Walks on October 27, 2017 at 6:48pm
Comment by Chief Walks on September 27, 2017 at 8:57am
Comment by Chief Walks on September 8, 2017 at 2:14pm
Comment by Chief Walks on August 16, 2017 at 12:59pm

I created a new page: Humus Rich Soil: A Garden Foundation -------------------------------------------------->

Comment by Chief Walks on August 13, 2017 at 5:49pm
Comment by Chief Walks on July 19, 2017 at 6:20pm

Repurpose a 55-gallon drum and leftover decking to create a rabbit-proof barrel planter that pairs perfectly with your deck.

Spruce up your porch or deck with this attractive and inexpensive planter made from salvaged materials.

Our 8-by-22-foot deck looked a little plain, so we decided to build a planter. The soil box is made from a thick plastic soap barrel taken from the dumpster of a company that washes buses and trucks.

• 55-gallon plastic barrel
• Landscape fabric
• Assorted screws
• 4-by-4s
• Scrap 2-by-4s
• Three 3⁄8-by-6-inch lag screws
• Scrap decking material

1. Cut the plastic barrel in half with a reciprocating saw, and then cut one end from each half and slide them together, creating a 6-inch overlap.

2. To create adequate drainage, drill holes in the bottom of the barrel and cover each hole with landscape fabric.

3. Build a frame from six durable 4-by-4 posts, joined by two pieces of scrap decking between each of the posts. For the middle posts, use a 2-by-4 to support the middle of the soil box.

4. Attach the back three support posts to the deck using the lag screws.

5. Hang the soil box inside the skeleton frame with screws.

6. Hang spare pieces of decking around the exterior of the frame like siding. Finally, mount the lower piece of siding that faces away from the house on hinges for easy cleanup, or in case you need to send somebody under the deck to fetch dropped keys.

Anyone with access to scrap wood, a few power tools, and large plastic barrels could make this sizable elevated vegetable garden for next to nothing, and it protects from all but the most athletic rabbits!

Comment by Chief Walks on July 9, 2017 at 7:22am
Comment by Chief Walks on June 26, 2017 at 3:48pm

When is it safe to pick a tomato?

When is it safe to pick a tomato? It’s one of the most often asked questions as we get closer to that time and the temptation to harvest gets greater by the day.

When a tomato reaches a full size, and the fruit becomes a pale green, it begins the ripening process, regulated by an internal gas produced within the fruit called ethylene.

While tomatoes develop their optimum flavor, nutrition, and color when the tomato is in the full red ripe stage, this doesn’t have to occur on the plant.

Once the tomato reaches a stage when it’s about ½ green and ½ pink (called the ‘breaker stage’), the tomato can be harvested and ripened off the vine with no loss of flavor, quality or nutrition.

Cherokee Purple

This is the same tomato about 48 hours after picking

You can also speed up or slow down the ripening process once picked by raising the temperature (to an optimum of 85°F) or lowering the temperature to slow it down (to a minimum of 50°F).

Although it may sound tempting to leave fruit on the plant to enjoy that ripe vine tomato, you might want to consider the risks of doing so. We’ve all experienced that moment when we waited a day, or even a few hours too long and regretted doing so.

A sudden shower can cause that perfect tomato to split or crack as the roots take up a bit more water than the fruit can bear. The internal pressure of the expanding fruit on the skin is just too much. Splitting is the result. Or a bird, squirrel, raccoon or any other of many critters might try and sample that tomato before you do.

It’s a common occurrence and just not worth the risk in my book. Instead, harvest at or shortly after the breaker stage, with the confidence of knowing your tomatoes will be every bit as good as if you left them on the vine, but without the risk of any number of things you can’t control.


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